‘I name this loco the National Railway Museum’ – NRM’s 40th birthday gift

Diesel loco 43238 in its new livery. Photograph: Virgin Trains
23 Sep 2015 @ 4.08 pm
| News, Transport

What birthday present do you get for the railway museum that has everything? The answer is the highest accolade in train circles – a locomotive with your name on it.

And so on Wednesday (September 23), locomotive number 43238 was renamed National Railway Museum 40 Years 1975-2015.

NRM visitors past and present can share their memories, photos and videos via a dedicated page on the museum’s website.

The NRM was opened in 1975 and to mark its 40th birthday the renaming ceremony took place at York Station.

David Horne, Virgin Trains East Coast managing director, and Paul Kirkman, director of the NRM, did the honours.

The same locomotive previously carried the name National Railway Museum – The First Ten Years 1975-1985 for 12 years from 1985.

It now wears a distinctive and specially-designed livery, depicting key exhibits from the museum’s collection, including the working replica of Stephenson’s Rocket, and Locomotion No.1 which is currently on loan to Darlington’s Head of Steam Railway Museum.

Volunteer VIPs

A very special birthday cake. From left: NRM volunteer David Eastoe; NRM dIrector Paul Kirkman; NRM volunteers Peter Brumby and Rob Tibbits; and Virgin Trains East Coast MD David Horne
A very special birthday cake. From left: NRM volunteer David Eastoe; NRM dIrector Paul Kirkman; NRM volunteers Peter Brumby and Rob Tibbits; and Virgin Trains East Coast MD David Horne

Among the guests were three long-serving volunteers – David Eastoe, Peter Brumby and Rob Tibbits – who have 120 years’ service between them.

Together, they blew out candles on a specially-designed celebration cake which re-created the unique livery worn by the locomotive named at York station today.

Rob said:

It’s been a pleasure being present at all the milestone moments for the museum, including the opening of Station Hall in 1995 and the addition of Search Engine in 2008, big rail events including the Railfest celebrations of 2004 and 2012, the award-winning Mallard 75 season, and numerous royal visits.

We can’t wait to see what the next 40 years will bring, starting with next year’s return of the legendary steam loco Flying Scotsman.

Amazing attraction

David Horne (right) presents a full-size train name plaque to the NRM's Paul Kirkman
David Horne (right) presents a full-size train name plaque to the NRM’s Paul Kirkman

NRM director Paul Kirkman said they viewed the development of the museum over 40 years with “huge pride”

He thanked the railway industry for helping “to tell the amazing stories of the railways, old and new, so that our visitors can understand the importance of the industry and its impact on us and the world”.

Forty years ago, rail passenger numbers had been declining since the 1950s and stood only a little above their all-time low.

How different the world feels now: passenger numbers continue to grow and the country’s most significant infrastructure schemes are railways.

– Paul Kirkman

Virgin East Coast boss David Horne said:

It seems only fitting that we should dedicate one of our locomotives to mark four decades of this amazing visitor attraction, which has created special memories for millions of visitors in Britain and around the world, and which now attracts hundreds of thousands of people to York, the heart of our network.

Model railway company Hornby is to make a miniature version of locomotive 43238, with a limited production run going on sale in spring 2016.

David said it would be “in great demand from collectors and rail enthusiasts alike”.